Vasectomy Increases Prostate Cancer Risk Over Time?

Vasectomy was found to be associated with a small but significantly increased risk of prostate cancer over the long run in a report of a comprehensive analysis of Danish nationwide registries led by Anders Husby, MD, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Vasectomy is associated with a long-term increased risk of prostate cancer, which manifests itself from ten years after the procedure. However, the absolute increased risk of prostate cancer following vasectomy is…small and similar to the increased breast cancer risk in women following oral contraceptive use. The study was published online May 23 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

This report can change the way national cancer programs run in the country and needs a statement from the health ministry.

The investigators used Danish national health registers to establish a nationwide cohort of 2,150,162 Danish males born between January 1937 and December 1996. The analysis involved some 53.4 million person-years of follow-up, or an average follow-up of 24.8 years per male.

At the end of the analysis, vasectomized men had a 15% increased relative risk of prostate cancer compared with nonvasectomized men.

The association between time since the procedure was done and the risk of both low and intermediate-to-advanced stage tumors was similar, except for the first year following vasectomy where investigators found a 3.5-fold higher risk of vasectomized men presenting with low-grade prostate cancer compared with men who had not undergone the procedure.

When restricting the analysis to metastatic and extracapsular prostate cancer, the study still found a statistically significant increased long-term prostate cancer risk associated with vasectomy.

In contrast, men who had undergone a vasectomy had, on average, a lower risk of other cancers compared with nonvasectomized men, suggesting that men who chose to undergo vasectomy are, on average, healthier than the general population.